River News and Updates

 

Happening Now: Updated August 10, 2017

Preliminary construction activities in the RAD continue. See below for the latest updates.


The RADTIP Groundbreaking Ceremony is scheduled for Wednesday, August 23, 2017 from 9 a.m. to 10 a.m. at Jean Webb Park - 30 Riverside Drive. This event is open to the public and all are welcome.

 In their June 27 meeting, City Council voted to approve construction contracts for a modified RADTIP schedule, one that preserves the project’s core roadway, pedestrian and bicycle transportation improvements, and delays building some of the southern end of the project in order to keep the construction costs for this phase within the existing budget. The revised schedule for RADTIP includes:

1. Replacing a railroad crossing improvement for cyclists that required a large retaining wall with an alternate improvement. The new design will eliminate the retaining wall and planned railroad spur crossing improvement (north of the trestle bridge) on the east side of the road and replace it with an improved at grade crossing on the west side of the road ($2 million cost savings).

2. Building out the 10-foot-wide greenway along the river on the western side of Lyman Street, and delaying the construction of the road infrastructure, surfacing, protected bike lanes and the eastern sidewalk along this same section to a later date ($4.6 million cost deferment). See Public Engagement, below, for more details.


PUBLIC INPUT OPPORTUNITIES

After agreeing to phase the project to keep current improvements within the existing budget, Council asked staff to evaluate a new proposal that increases the width of the greenway in the southern section of RADTIP, and eliminates a future build out of  the planned protected bicycle track on Lyman Street. The public is encouraged to get involved; information on that process is located here. Staff will report back to Council on August 22, 2017.

The Strategic Development Office holds open office hours every third Thursday at 14 Riverside Drive from 3 p.m. to 5  p.m. This is a drop-by-when-you-can event and open to everyone with an interest in riverfront development activities. 

 We are committed to consistently communicating with you on the work being done, changes to the schedule and any known traffic impacts. A construction and closures map is available here. You can also sign up for email notifications here.


OTHER TIGER VI PROJECTS

The RADTIP serves as the spine of a planned multimodal system that includes other projects which are construction ready: Livingston Street Complete Streets, and the Town Branch, French Broad River Greenway West and Bacoate Branch (formerly Clingman Forest) greenways. These projects were originally planned to be built in conjunction with the RADTIP as part of the TIGER VI (USDOT) grant-funded program of work. In order to keep the program within the existing budget, the construction of the other projects has been delayed until future funding is available. 

NEXT STEPS ON CONSTRUCTION

Demolition of several properties (see below, demolition) will begin in August. A groundbreaking ceremony will occur on August 23rd at 9:00 AM.


DEMOLITION

 

Additional building demolition for roadway improvements will occur at the beginning of RADTIP construction in summer 2017. Demolition projects include the 12 Bones building, the concrete block addition to the west of Riverside Studios at Haywood and Riverside Drive and the Anders Tobacco warehouse at the corner of Craven Street and Riverside Drive (the red building).

UTILITY RELOCATION

 

 PSNC Energy continues utility relocation work and will be working on the north end of the RADTIP project area and work will continue throughout the summer. Details can be found on the Construction and Closures map.

 
CONSTRUCTION FOR OTHER RIVERFRONT PROJECTS

NC Wildlife Resources Commission has completed the new river access (steps) at Jean Webb Park. This includes new ADA-accessible parking spaces. Their crews also completed the boat ramp at the southeast corner of the Smith Bridge (Craven Street Bridge) and Riverside Dr. (aka the free wood lot). The parking lot is the next and final piece to be built for this project and construction is almost complete. 
 
14 Riverside Drive renovation is complete and public restrooms are open from dawn to dusk seven days a week. Wayfinding signage to help locals and visitors navigate the district will be installed in the fall. 

TEMPORARY WAYFINDING IN THE DISTRICT

The City contracted with a local designer to produce graphics that can be used to help communicate River Arts District and City project information during construction (2017-2020). After gaining input from community stakeholders, the consultant has completed the designs. We anticipate having these initial business kit resources ready before construction begins in summer 2017. Additional signage support to help keep the district vibrant during construction is also in the works.

Reminders

CAMPING AND HOMELESS POPULATIONS
Due to construction activities in the area camping is no longer safe. There are several emergency shelter and support services to assist anyone camping in the area affected by displacement. City Resource Officers are currently providing this information to campers in the area. All of the resources available are listed on the Resources tab.. If you see someone camping in the area please contact Asheville Police Department at (828) 252-1110. If you need information on additional community services, contact 211.
 
TREE REMOVAL AND FREE WOOD
This winter, the City of Asheville worked closely with project area contractors to minimize tree removal in affected areas.
  
Additional tree removal will occur in the next phase of the project. The City is working closely with all partners to minimize erosion and maintain healthy riverbanks during this process, and will install new landscaping and storm water management gardens and devices as part of construction. Additionally, the City has been awarded the Duke Water Resources grant to work with several not-for-profits and interested citizens on a riparian restoration plan that will be implemented after construction is complete.


TRANSPORTATION, ACCESS AND PARKING
Parking on City property has been significantly reduced due to preconstruction activities, and will continue to be limited throughout the construction process. Please help keep bikers safe by not parking in designated bike lanes. Expect delays from road and lane closures during this time. You can view a preconstruction parking and river access map and a road closure map.
 
MORE INFORMATION
If you have specific questions about how this project impacts you, your business or your property please contact us. You can reach Stephanie Monson Dahl at the Riverfront Office at (828) 232-4502.


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Background

This project will construct a 2.2 mile piece of the Wilma Dykeman Riverway, a planned 17- mile multi-modal corridor in Asheville along the French Broad and Swannanoa Rivers. In addition to improved intersections and bridge reconstruction, the project includes roadway improvements, sidewalks, bike lanes, greenways, on-street parking, and stormwater improvements along Lyman Street and Riverside Drive adjacent to the French Broad River. The project will improve the horizontal and vertical clearance at the Norfolk Southern Railroad bridge, accommodate truck turning movements at the intersection of Craven street and Riverside Drive and improve three railroad crossings in the area.
The estimated cost for purchasing right of way and construction is $37 million. In April 2014, the City submitted an application to Federal Highway Administration to fund six interconnected transportation projects through the TIGER VI Program. In November 2014, the US Secretary of Transportation visited Asheville to announce that Asheville was awarded a 14.6 million dollar federal award to support the development of:

  • RADTIP (including Five Points Roundabout)
  • Greenways: Bacoate Branch (formerly Clingman Forest), Town Branch and French Broad River West
  • Livingston Street Complete Street

Timeline

Summer 2016: Preconstruction activities begin. Tree clearing occurs in preparation for Duke Energy and other utility relocation.

Winter 2016: Installation of new Jean Webb river access point and Smith Bridge boat launch in partnership with NC Wildlife Resource Commission. Renovation of 14 Riverside Drive. Utility relocation efforts continue.

Summer 2017: Construction is scheduled to begin on RADTIP  and will continue through 2020.

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